Gabo Arora is an award-winning filmmaker, creative technologist and Founder/CEO of LIGHTSHED, a storytelling, technology and research studio focusing on emerging technologies currently known as VR, AR & AI. He is a professor at Johns Hopkins University, where he designed, leads and is the Founding Director of the new Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technology (ISET) program and lab. Formerly, he was a Senior Policy Advisor for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN's first-ever Creative Director, with over 15 years of field experience. He has directed, produced and pioneered a series of widely acclaimed, virtual reality documentaries (Clouds Over Sidra, Waves of Grace, My Mother's Wing, amongst others) for the United Nations that have all premiered at major film festivals around the world, including Cannes, Sundance and Tribeca Film Festival, featured at the World Economic Forum in Davos, screened at the White House, and have exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art's inaugural program on immersive storytelling.
His VR experience, “The Last Goodbye”, commissioned by Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation, world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival to wide acclaim with the LA Times calling it “game changing” and “transcending all the typical barriers of rectangular cinema." His latest VR experience, ZIKR, World Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2018 and was the first-ever VR documentary to be sold and acquired in the festival's history.
A native New Yorker, Gabo also holds honors degrees with distinction from NYU and Johns Hopkins University. He is a Davos World Economic Forum Arts and Cultural leader and was nominated for a term-membership at the Council on Foreign Relations by Francis Fukuyama. His work has been nominated for an Emmy, awarded a Cannes Lions, a Sheffield Doc/Fest award for best documentary and has been featured in the New Yorker, the British Film Institute's Sight and Sound magazine, Fast Company, New York Times. He's been featured in the book The Fuzzy and the Techie by Scott Hartley and his work has been covered widely in the Guardian, Vice News, Wired, TED, NPR and PBS Newshour.
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